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22 Modern Shipping Container Homes Around the World

By Eric Meunier


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A shipping container by itself is pretty boring, but even a brand new one is pretty cheap.

With a little bit of imagination (and a lot work), some talended architects succeeded to design dwellings made of shipping containers, ranging from off-the-grid guest homes to full time single family homes.

Shipping Container homes have their pros and cons: they are durable and eco-friendly, most of time cheaper to build than conventional constructions, and pre-fab modules can be easily transported by truck.

But they also have to be very well insulated and sealed as the steel conducts heat a lot and easily rusts if the air condenses against it.

You may think that living in a container home doesn’t sound very appealing.

Here are 22 of the best modern shipping container houses built around the world that may lead you to reconsider.


1. Containers of Hope, a $40,000 Home by Benjamin Garcia Saxe

Containers of Hope, a $40,000 Home by Benjamin Garcia Saxe

Benjamin Garcia Saxe completed the Containers of Hope project in 2011 with a budget of $40,000.

Located in San Jose, Costa Rica, this container house made of two 40 foot shipping containers is the result of a close collaboration between the architect and his clients, who went on to construct the building themselves.


2. Shipping Container House by Studio H:T

Shipping Container House by Studio H:T

Colorado-based Studio H:T designed this Shipping Container House in 2010. It is made of two 40 foot Shipping Containers.

The project is planned to be off-the-grid using solar orientation, passive cooling, green roofs, pellet stove heating and photovoltaics to create electricity.


3. The Beach Box by Andrew Anderson

The Beach Box by Andrew Anderson

The Beach Box is a shipping container house located in the dunes of Amagansett, New York, USA.

This 2,000 square foot, four bedroom, two and a half bath home was developed by Andrew Anderson with six-modules from New York-based company SG Blocks.


4. 31 Shipping Container Home by ZieglerBuild

31 Shipping Container Home by ZieglerBuild

Todd Miller of Zeigler Build recently built this amazing three story container house, using thirty one brand new 40 foot shipping containers!

This spectacular four bedroom, four bathroom, 6,000 square foot home is located 5 miles away from the heart of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


5. Caterpillar House by Sebastián Irarrázaval

Caterpillar House by Sebastián Irarrázaval

Caterpillar House is located in Lo Barnechea, Santiago de Chile, Chile, and was designed by Sebastián Irarrázaval.

The home overlooks a dry landscape, and was designed for an art collector, using twelve 20 foot and 40 foot shipping containers.


6. First Shipping Container House in Mojave Desert by Ecotech Design

First Shipping Container House in Mojave Desert by Ecotech Design

Ecotech Design completed the first Shipping Container Home in the Mojave Desert in 2011.

Made with six shipping containers, the 2,300 square foot contemporary house was built for about $200 per square foot, including the foundation.


7. Eco-Friendly Crossbox House by CG Architectes

Eco-Friendly Crossbox House by CG Architectes

This project is a prototype of a three-dimensional modular and industrialized house, built with four 40 foot shipping containers.

The aim of this project is to build a low cost architect’s housing with high focus on environmental issues.


8. “Home Contained”, a Cozy Modern Home Made of Five Shipping Containers

"Home Contained", a Cozy Modern Home Made of Five Shipping Containers (1)

Debbie Glassberg is the owner of the Home Contained, a 2,600 square foot modern residence located in Kansas City, Missouri, that was built with five shipping containers.

The final result is quite impressive: the home has comfortable living spaces, a green roof, geothermal heating, plant foam insulation and some passive solar.


9. Six Oaks Residence by Modulus

Six Oaks Residence by Modulus

Located in the hills of Felton, Santa Cruz, California, USA, this 1,200 square foot shipping container home was designed by Modulus Architecture.

The house was made with three and a half 40 foot partially prefabricated shipping containers.


10. Containerlove by LHVH Architekten

Containerlove by LHVH Architekten

Designed by LHVH Architekten, Containerlove is a private residence made of three 40 foot shipping containers.

Located in Kall, Eifel, Germany, the structure sets it apart from its rural landscape, though its interior is warm and cozy.


11. Container House by Adam Kalkin

12 Container House by Adam Kalkin

The 12 Container House was designed by architect Adam Kalkin in 2003.

Located in Blue Hill, a small town in Maine, USA, the house was created by stacking twelve recycled 40 foot shipping containers in a T-shape.

12. Old Lady House by Adam Kalkin

Old Lady House by Adam Kalkin

The Old Lady House is another modern shipping container house designed by Adam Kalkin.

The two story home located in Califon, New Jersey, USA, was built using nine 40 foot recycled shipping containers.


13. Maison Container by Patrick Partouche

Maison Container by Patrick Partouche

French architect Patrick Partouche designed the Maison Container in 2010.

Located in the outskirts of Lille, France, this 2,240 square foot, two story house is made of eight 40 foot shipping containers.


14. Croydon Lane Residence by Studio Jantzen

Croydon Lane Residence by Studio Jantzen

Architect Christof Jantzen, principal of Studio Jantzen purchased five shipping containers and extended an existing rustic 750-square-foot cabin on a 3.5-acre plot of land in Topanga, California, USA.

With builder Eric Engheben of 44 West Construction, Jantzen managed to complete the addition within four weeks.


15. The Sarah House in Salt Lake City

The Sarah House in Salt Lake City

Real estate broker Jeff White dreamed of transforming used shipping containers into affordable housing.

After two years of work, he built a 672-square-foot house, using two 40 foot shipping containers.

The house located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, was put on the market in October 2013 with an initial price tag of $135,000, but didn’t sell at the time of writing.


16. Shipping Container House in El Tiemblo by James & Mau Arquitectura

Shipping Container House in El Tiemblo by James & Mau Arquitectura and Infiniski

Designed by studio James & Mau Arquitectura, Casa El Tiamblo is made of four 40 foot shipping containers.

This 2,045 square-foot residence is located in Spain and was completed within six months for a total budget of 140,000 €.


17. WFH House by Arcgency

WFH House by Arcgency

Designed by Arcgency, this four bedroom contemporary home was made of three 40 foot shipping containers.

Located in China and completed in 2012, it is a prefab design based on principles such as sustainability, flexibility, and playfulness.


18. Upcycle House by Lendager Arkitekter

Upcycle House by Lendager Arkitekter

Danish studio Lendager Arkitekter completed the Upcycle House project in 2013.

It was built from two 40 foot used shipping containers and it is located in Nyborg, Denmark.


19. Shipping Container Guest House by Jim Poteet

Shipping Container Guest House by Jim Poteet

Located in Texas, USA, this project is made from a standard 40 foot shipping container, stands in the backyard of renovated warehouse where the client lives.

It was designed by the architect Jim Poteet who had never worked with a container himself until the owner approached him about transforming one into a playhouse and a guest house.


20. Two-Tree House by Golany Architects

Two-Tree House by Golany Architects

Designed by Golany Architects and located in Israel, the Two-Treehouse, which now appears to have grown there, actually began as a recycled shipping container.

It was constructed by applying prefabrication wherever possible, with all the interior finishes, insulation and structure completed off-site.


21. Nomad Living by Studio Arte architecture & design

Nomad Living by Studio Arte architecture & design

This weekend retreat by Studio Arte architecture & design is made of a single 40 foot shipping container.

It can also serves as a first home for a young couple, a shed for your guest or a home office/studio.


22. Week End House 2+ by Jure Kotnik Arhitekt

Week End House 2+ by Jure Kotnik Arhitekt

Instead of using recycled shipping containers for this weekend retreat, Jure Kotnik uses containers specially designed for housing.

This small modern container home is located in Trebnie, Solvenia.

Did you change your mind? Would you live in one of those container houses?

If so, let us know which one is your favorite.

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About Eric Meunier

Currently the Owner and Chief Executive of HODYO Design, Eric Meunier's expertise in the design industry spreads over 20 years. He was the driving force behind HomeDSGN's early success, founding this website in 2011. Today, he loves to channel his passion for design into remodeling houses and transforming interior spaces with his keen eye for detail and architectural finesse. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

49 thoughts on “22 Modern Shipping Container Homes Around the World”

    • Everything can be maintained. You can easily say this can last 50+ years with the right maintenance it can go more than that. The only thing that will inevitably break it is “RUST”. If you can prevent rust then it should be fine and dandy.

  1. I would want to see one that U can collapse back in transportable containers and move where ever U want to…

  2. Re-purposed shipping containers are a grand alternative to a modern housing! They are very cheap, I have read the price range starts at $1,500 for one medium-sized container. Hence, even if you wish to combine more containers together to extend the living space, your expenses would not exceed any limited budget. In addition to that, since they were built to sustain all the various conditions while on roads, salty water included, they should be very durable. With a little bit of care probably more than 16-17 years. The only thing I could not find an answer to is, do they balance the outside temperature enough? With thin walls made of metal I can perhaps see a problem there. I guess that is why some of the pictures shown above opted for wood or thicker walls instead of metal. By the way, Shipping Container Homes nicely sums up all the advantages of a shipping container homes, worth to have a quick look.

    • I have done a lot of reading on this and every reputable source I have found is using some type of insulation either on the inside or on the outside, depending on the way they want the finish to look. The most common solution is sprayed on foam insulation.

  3. My fiancée and very keen on this type of house as we are currently in the market. These homes are gorgeous and very affordable.

    • Yes Sanne, we do Design Build for such container housing projects. We are doing a few right now, and hope to be doing a few hundred more in the future. I’m the Architect on this project and I would be more than happy to hear from you as I could send you some sketches which we are currently going to build. Yours, truly Richard Johnson , M.Arch.

      • I’m interested in building a container home. I love them but don’t know where to begin . could you point me in the right direction. I live in AL. I’m looking for a open floor plan with 4-5 bedroom, 2.5-3 bathroom, office, kitchen, laundry room, etc

      • Hi, how about making a container home back in India. I would like to build one . Can you send me the sketch of the cheapest home in this kind and a quote for the same.regards . Russell

      • I am looking to create my business building using this concept, can you help me with plans or refer me to someone that can help? Colorado.

      • Hi Richard
        1- How much you charge do design a 800 sq ft Home made out of 5 containers: four 12X2.9 meters containers and one 6X2,9 m. It will be a two store house with a 12X2.9 m container as the second floor.
        2- Where can I buy containers in a reasonable price? Thanks

  4. I am looking to build a container in central Texas. I have a rough sketch of the floor plan but need to find some one that can help me further my design. Can you help me out?

  5. I have been interested in these homes for many years now. It is good to see that so many people are moving the momentum forward. I am interested to know. Is the foundation any different from the traditional? Also was curious to know how are the containers secured to the foundation.

    • Foundation required is going to be dependent on your local building code. The container only needs to be supported at the corners. That is how it is designed to be used for transport and can be stacked 7 units high on ship with each unit supporting 50 thousand pounds. The corner supports could be concrete piers with a plate affixed in the concrete that the container is welded to, if your code permits this. The prime difficulty in using these containers for building is when your have local code restrictions that require certain techniques be used that do not fit into the concept of a container.

  6. Hello their I am looking into purchasing a container home was thinking about two 40ft containers to being with and a budget of about 40-55k. The location would be a little rural (solar energy wanted) in the city of Pinon Hills, Ca. Is it Possible?

    • The budget you suggest for the containers and modifications to them sounds reasonable, but I don’t expect you to be able to also buy a parcel of land within that budget. California is a very high priced zone.

  7. Has anyone thought about putting multiple windows in a shipping container home that are narrow say 6″ wide but are tall and measure from just above the floor to just below the ceiling? I was thinking about a shipping container home in the wilds of remote Alaska where winters are long and one gets cabin fever unless one has wide views of the outside world but for safety intruding Alaskan bears and wolves would not fit through the windows. Some shipping container homes have large round windows but I don’t think those are pleasant looking. Also, why hasn’t anyone painted a shipping container to look like a home, say light brown, and paint shutters, say a burgundy color, on each side of a window, so as to mimmick the look of a conventional home?

    • I have seen examples of containers sheathed to look like a normal house, but most people that build using the container are trying to get that industrial look and it would be self defeating of their purpose to do what you are suggesting. You can do it though. The only real concern when making holes in the walls for windows is to ensure that you don’t compromise the structure, but f you are making a single story, it should not be an issue. If you are stacking containers, you may need to add some steel reinforcements.

    • Henry, there is a cabin built in Aal Norway, that uses a brilliant window alternative. Instead of large windows, the windows are in a narrow band at standing eye-level on three sides of a room. From the outside, it doesnt look like there are windows, but from the inside, everywhere you look, there is a view outdoors! Above the windows, all along the walls are shelves for books, or what-ever, below the windows, there is plenty of space for chairs, tables, etc……whereas large windows make the rest of the furnishing difficult to place. BTW these cabins are prefabricated in sections, then assembled quickly on the building site. This allows the work to be done in the winter months indoors and then the cabins built in the short Norwegian winters. Somewhat off topic, but the windows they use are a brilliant use of space and light. In a couple sections, like where the sitting group is, add another layer of windows, lower, so that you can see out while sitting.

  8. I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. The area I live in is surrounded by beautiful mountains and ocean. I think a container home would be a perfect choice here as they are earthquake proof and have many options for exterior designs, from ultra modern to rustic simplicicity. I am looking into designing and building a custom home for myself and family. The arcitectual possibilities are endless and the cost savings seem to just make sense.

    • Unclefish, are you tackling this on your own and have you found a designer and builder. I am on the Lower Mainland and have been thinking about building a container home for about a year

  9. Hi I have been looking at all the container homes on the net and I love them. I live in Las Vegas Nv and I am hoping that you can point me in the right direction to even get started to get one build. If possible I will be going through the VA. So do you know of anyone in Las Vegas that does this type of work.

  10. I used to think that container homes were cost effective but this assumption disappears quickly when you modify these past a cube with a door and window. Theres also bank loan difficulty and approval expenses and potential resale issues.. check out this site and the videos before jumping into things. I do want to build one and am investigating it but its not magic..

  11. I’ve been looking into different ideas for building an inexpensive and comfortable living space. Something that would be comfortable in the Canadian climate and Eco friendly. Is there any companies that would be recommended in southern Ontario?

  12. I live in Australia and have perused this site for container home ideas and have been very impressed with the information supplied, particularly many of the little issues regarding construction. Does there have to be a barrier between the galvanised iron of the container and the cement flooring? The water gathering roof was a ingenious idea as well. I thought this would be a cheap way for my son and daughter in law to start their first home. They live in the hot area but breesy area of the Gold Coast in the state of Queensland. House prices in Australia, I believe, are generally much higher than America and therefore hard for our young ones to make a start. This concept is ideal but my query; is there an issue with heat retention or can this be overcome with judicious placement of windows, doors and wide verandahs or is it important to concentrate on having insulation on the top of the container?

    Like Ike I am also considering the use of containers for housing in Ghana West Africa which is also a hot zone.

    I think this idea of container homes is a wonderful innovative concept. The idea is only just starting to catch on here in Australia. Thank you for developing this insightful informative site.

    • Hi Liz -I am in Melbourne Australia.Did you explore your queries more? Have you found any Australian companies that do this well? I have emailed the container build group in nsw. Thanks nicola

      • Hi nicola,
        Did you have a good experence with container build group? We are looking at using them or have you heard of any other companies in australia you may suggest?

  13. In my country , because of having wet & hot weather, Metals will be
    damaged. I want things to avoid of this events. What do you suggest me
    to cover building ( whether it be residental or commercial)?
    please guide me.

  14. I’m in Afghanistan and all we live in is shipping containers. They are pretty simple. One heater/air conditioner unit does good enough job to keep the temperature inside nice and cozy. Most have 1 to 2 windows front and back for ventilation and enough room for a bathroom/shower area. I’ve been in one when it was -10F outside and my one Chico unit did it’s job and kept me warm inside. They aren’t bad to live in if you are used to living in small spaces, we only have 20′ containers here, and they do good from keeping out sand, water, bugs (if everything is sealed up properly) and no other cover is on top of the container itself.

    It’s not a bad idea and I’d love to make my own simple home from what I’ve been seeing on here.

  15. Hi, I live in the Caribbean,Grenada to be exact and I’ve been looking at having a container home for a while now but because of the weather it is either always hot or wet. I would like to know if that would be possible and if it is then where should I start I don’t believe that any of the builders here have ever tried doing this can you plz point me in the right direction. I will be waiting for a reply.

  16. I would like to place 2 40 ft. Container home in Ecuador top of hill with sea view what would you recommend for hot climate country and corrosive exposure area to metal from sea .

  17. Where can I find a architect or designer or a engineer in the Midwest (Prefer Minnesota) who designs these container homes. I really want one.

  18. I noticed that there are several comments showing concern with water, salt, and heat problems with these homes. We have been using 20 ft containers as offices for construction sites that have been modified like these homes to look and function like conventional construction and heat and cold have not been an issue at all. These containers are sealed units when they were in sea service and are built very heavy duty, salt water resistant, and the only structural integrity points are the four corners. You can completely remove the metal sheeting between the corner posts and it will not effect the structural integrity at all. With some preventative painting and sealing these will last for a hundred years or better. Remember, the fourty foot containers are designed the hold 67,000 lbs and can be stacked 6 high fully loaded. How much weight will the bottom unit be holding up? And they are designed the withstand motion and leaning while stacked and loaded. They are built to highly exceed any building codes around the world. It seams to me that the real obstacle is your local authorities wanting money and power. It is not difficult work and takes a fraction of normal construction time and cost. Like what you see? Go for it!

  19. What do you think about the negative sides? Only two main contras here:
    Since shipping containers are not intended for human habitation, substances harmful to humans may have been used in their manufacture. This includes paints and solvents, as well as insulation materials installed to control the temperature inside the containers during transport. Long term exposure to these could lead to health problems for the inhabitants. Among these are chromatic, phosphorous, and lead-based paints used on the walls, and arsenic and chromium that are sometimes used to infuse the wooden floors of the container in order to deter pest infestation. Another concern is that they may have been used to carry toxic or even radioactive cargo in the past, which might have been accidentally spilled during transport.
    Sure, using disused containers as building blocks is an effective way of recycling them, but the eco footprint of these homes is still larger than it appears at first glance. Before these homes can be habitable, the entire container must first be sandblasted bare, the flooring needs to be replaced and all the openings need to be cut with a torch or fireman’s saw. There are also carbon emissions associated with transport and assembling. Building a multi-container home can produce thousands of pounds of hazardous waste before it can be used as a residence.

  20. I am interested in building a floating container home. Waterfront living without the waterfront real estate/tax price. Has anyone see any container homes built this way?

  21. Fantastic solution, I will build one privet house from containers for sure. It is interesting how looks like the join on the roof between two containers and how you provide waterproofing and weir. May I ask you to send me some details on the roof, for wall openings, other complex details etc? Maybe you can send me some ideas for single-storey house (I have 2 daughters: so – kitchen, 2 bedrooms etc.) sorry for such request, I am from Sibirien – deep in Russia and will be great full for your kind support! Good luck in your interesting business.


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